Part Two – Farmers Markets

I focused on farmers markets in the Bronx because the Bronx is not a affluent area. Many people dismiss the Bronx being part of New York City because it does not convey the same culture and excitement as the other boroughs. The Bronx is known for being poor, dangerous, and dirty. This reputation is hurts it even more because people don’t want to bother with it. The Bronx needs help, especially when it comes to affordable and healthy food. Farmers markets are an alternative to grocery markets, which the Bronx lacks quality versions of. My family as well as many of friends’ families buy groceries right outside of the Bronx in the wealthier county of Westchester. Farmers markets are a way to introduce people to foods in way they can’t in a store. The market is a much more intimate setting where people create connections since they are scheduled typically weekly and are an event. People become regulars. My ambition for this project was to study the markets by going to them and volunteering. This was much more difficult than I anticipated. The Bronx markets are much smaller and less popular than their counterparts in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Even researching and googling them was a task. There was little presence and advertisement of them online. There was only one source that contained a list of the markets. The site was called Bronx Buzz NYC. The page provided information on “Opening Dates, Hours, Items & How To Shop – Bronx Farmers Markets.” Bronx Buzz NYC publishes articles about the Bronx, however the website does not seem credible. There are no authors listed on the articles. Since this was the only source I found about farmers markets in the Bronx, I had to go with it. It provides a directory that is divided into the four areas of the Bronx: South, Central, North West, and East. There are 9 in the South Bronx, 6 in the Central Bronx, 4 in the North West Bronx, and 3 in the East Bronx. Many of the details on these markets were listed as “TBD.” The information was the same in May and August. Also, Bronx Buzz NYC could not confirm the details about many of the markets. Farmers markets in NYC are usually controlled by GrowNYC, CityHarvest, and HarvestHome. These are all well-established organization that believe in fighting food inequality and providing easier access to healthy food. These are the only points of contact to these markets. There are no emails or phone numbers provided to contact the markets. For the ones connected to a website, I emailed about volunteer information. However, I never received any contact in return. A handful of them have facebook pages, which was the easiest way to gather information. Only 3 had links to websites. One of which had little to no information. If they are not getting the word out about the markets online, I assume they create a physical presence in neighborhoods. However, none of the markets are in my area of the Bronx. I’ve never seen advertisements about the markets on the street. In Manhattan and Brooklyn, farmers markets provide a different purpose. While the ones in the Bronx are hoping to help low-income residents, Brooklyn and Manhattan are full of innovative, trendy vendors. It is not out of necessity. When you search the best farmers markets in New York City, the Bronx is never mentioned. The top ones are extremely well-known, such as Grand Army Plaza, Union Square, and Natural History Museum. GrowNYC hosts their version of a farmers market, called a Greenmarket. There are 23 in Manhattan and only 5 in the Bronx. They are all situated in the West Bronx. The median household income in Manhattan is $77,559, while the median household income in the Bronx is $37,525. This is greater than a 2:1 ratio. Poverty in the Bronx is 28.7% and 17.3% in Manhattan. There are more people in Manhattan, but the Bronx is twice the size. There is great inequality in New York City. The Bronx does not have access to well-run and affordable grocery stores. I’ve been grocery shopping with my family for as long as I can remember, and we only shop in the Bronx if we are in desperate need for something. My family has the means to travel for food. Many in the borough can not say the same. Recently, my friend living in the South Bronx purchased chicken from the local grocery store and the whole house of seven was bedridden with food poisoning. These stores are not well-supervised or maintained. This is a serious issue because food is so essential to people’s health. When people do not have good health, they are not work or afford health care. In theory, farmers markets would be a great solution, but the Bronx is lacking in those as well.

Comments

  1. labubader says:

    I am very interested in the topic you have chosen for this project. I live in Virginia and, as an outsider, I still have a picture of how different Manhattan is from the Bronx. I think a lot of times this comes from movies and tv shows, and it discourages people from going to the Bronx. It is also very frustrating to see such a big gap between two parts of the same city. I definitely think that farmers markets that are actually advertised and attended would help the community in many different ways. It is especially important for the health of the people in the Bronx that they have access to fresh healthy produce. This should not be a luxury reserved only for higher income individuals and that applies to all parts of the US. This is a great research topic and thank you for bringing this issue to our attention!

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